Brighton Energy Co-op starts generating solar at port of Newhaven

The co-op has gone live at the harbour with a 570-panel, 320kW installation

Brighton Energy Co-op says its latest solar project – a 570-panel, 320kW installation at the East Sussex port of Newhaven – has gone live.

The co-op works with more than 50 organisations – from small businesses to local councils – and has been owning and operating solar PV systems for 12 years.

Its project at Newhaven – a harbour at the mouth of the River Ouse that serves private and commercial cross-Channel transport – adds to the solar in the site’s energy mix. Last year the port worked with SGS Energy to instal 486 solar panels, generating 200kWp, on the roof of its ferry terminal and freight shed.

Now BEC is making its own energy contribution, after “months of negotiations and hard work”, culminating in this month’s sign-off of the witness test stage of quality control and the wiring of the inverters by the co-op’s installation partner Genfit.

“We’re very grateful to all the Genfit team for making such speedy progress,” said BEC.

The co-op’s co-founder, Will Cottrell, added: “Many thanks to Newhaven Port for the intricate discussions and attention to detail this scale of solar project requires.”

“We hope this is the first of many Brighton Energy Co-op solar systems at Newhaven. Reducing the port’s carbon footprint and helping them deal with the energy price hike will aid the long-term sustainability of this essential industrial area.”

BEC hopes to increase its presence at Newhaven, emulating its efforts at Shoreham Port, a few miles along the coast, where it operates eight solar projects. Last October, it fitted a further 120kW of community-owned solar on four buildings – port HQ Nautilus House, Maritime House Warehouse, Maritime House Extension and the Port Kitchen cafe, which sources 70% of its electricity from BEC panels. 

“The cafe already had a great sustainability stance, but that’s been topped off with a massive cut in their carbon footprint thanks to our members.  We love our job Huge thanks must go to Genfit, our installers, for a super speedy install,” said BEC.

Co-op co-founder Damian Tow added: “We have a good relationship with the port who are proud to have successfully maintained their EcoPort status in 2023.”